The garden immediately east of the SDI building was developed from ideas brought forward at community engagement meetings involving the concept of food sovereignty. The CMN maintenance department, students, faculty, SDI staff, and community members formed the 75’ x 50’ turtle shaped garden. Within the outer perimeter, 13 garden plots have been installed to signify the 13 cycles of the moon. These cycles are represented on the outer shell of a turtles’ back.
Individual plots have been adopted by various groups including campus student organizations, individual students, high school and college interns, faculty, staff, and community members. The head of the turtle is planted with strawberries, and the 13 garden plots are developed and planted based on the desires and needs of the plot manager. Three garden plot examples are described below:
- High school students, who are also part of the Sustainability Leadership Cohort, took on the challenge of planting a Three Sisters garden in their plot. The three sisters are corn, beans, and squash, and the plants are grown together to benefit one another during growth. The corn supports the bean, and the beans add nitrogen to the soil. The leaves of the squash plants cover the ground to limit weeds, avert predators, and reduce soil erosion.
- A faculty member oversaw a plot to grow heirloom tomatoes. The seeds are gathered and kept for future use.
- The student SEEDS organization adopted a plot to learn about kohlrabi. Students learn how to plant and transplant kohlrabi, weed the area, and they observe the growth of the plant through the plants life cycle. Some of the developed kohlrabis are given to students to sample or share with family members, while others are taken to the farmers market.
On Friday mornings beginning in September, ripe produce is gathered from the garden and taken to the newly formed Kehtekaewak (Farmers Market) in Keshena. Staff and students participate in Kehtekaewak activities by collecting and preparing campus produce, overseeing campus sales, market set-up, and overseeing the other market vendors. In addition, advertising and marketing for these events have been a collaborative effort between the Sustainable Development Institute, the Department of Continuing Education, and the Menominee Boxing Club.